Guide to Handling a Car Accident
Getting into a car accident can be quite frightening, especially when you don't know what steps you need to take. Follow this guide to learn what to do if you are involved in an accident.
1. Keep Calm
When you get into an accident, you experience a range of emotions: anger, confusion or even shock. Before you begin pointing fingers at who was at fault, it's important to take a deep breath and remain calm throughout the entire situation. If both parties involved are aggravated, it makes it harder to resolve any issue. Quickly assess whether your car is capable of safely being moved over to the side of the road and turn on your car hazard lights so other drivers can avoid being in the way.
2. Check for Injuries
Make sure that all passengers in your vehicle are okay. Keep in mind that during this time, adrenaline has kicked into your body and some pains like whiplash can sometimes emerge hours or even days after the accident. Don't downplay any injuries and seek immediate medical attention if needed.
3. Call the Authorities
Getting a police report will help to expedite the claims process. Please note that certain counties won't dispatch police officers if medical attention is not needed; if this is the case, mention it to the insurance company and they will do further investigation. If a police officer arrives on the scene, make sure to provide an overview of everything that happened including any extra information. Avoid admitting to fault or blaming others; let the authorities gather all the information needed to create the accident report.
4. Gather Witness Information
An important factor that many seem to forget is to involve an unbiased third party that can testify to the accident. It's always helpful to get names and phone numbers of people around who may have witnessed the accident. Often times, it can end up in a messy "he said, she said" scenario and in the event that the claims investigator needs to get a witness statement, having this information will come in handy.
5. Exchange Information
Make sure that you obtain all of the information from the other party –
full name, phone number, insurance company name, policy number, make/model/color of the vehicle, drivers' license number and license plate. Verify that the driver's name is found on the insurance policy and the phone number they have provided is accurate. Call them to verify that the number they have given is correct; if you need further information from them, it's always best to have a way to get in contact with them.
6. Take Pictures
Take lots of photos of the accident scene and all involved vehicles. This will help in clarifying and preserving evidence from the accident for future reference. When taking pictures, sometimes it can be hard determining what exactly needs to be photographed. Make sure to capture every detail, everything helps in creating an idea of what happened. Capture the environment in which the incident occurred, any evident damage on the vehicles, their license plates, etc. The photos will come in handy when you or the other driver comes to dealing with your respective insurance companies.
7. File a Claim
Contact your insurance company and they will be able to guide you through the process on how to move forward with your claim. Even if you believe you are not at fault, make sure to alert your own insurance company to notify them as to what happened. Afterwards, you can call the other drivers' insurance company to file a claim. Respond to all questions with facts and refrain from adding in any bias opinion. Provide them with all of the necessary information and they will figure out which party is at fault.
8. Driving After an Accident
After a jarring accident, not only will you be frazzled but the same goes for your vehicle. If you feel that your car is safe to be out on the road and you are capable of driving, only then should you attempt to drive it yourself. Otherwise, if you begin to hear your vehicle acting out of the ordinary, refrain from driving and if possible, park it in a safe area; call your towing/roadside assistance and ask a friend or family member to pick you up.
Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time, regardless of how good of a driver you are. Keeping a printed
accident checklist handy in your glove compartment may help when you are suddenly caught off guard. A-MAX Auto Insurance can help you get the coverage you need through our reputed carriers. Don't get caught without protection on the road. Get a quote with A-MAX Auto Insurance and worry less knowing that we have got you covered.
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